falling for fake police call
to be senior Thai police officers. The scam begins with victims being contacted by someone claiming to work for the customs department who says they have intercepted a package from overseas containing drugs, ATM cards and bank books that are linked to “national-level moneylaundering
t this point, they are transferred via a video call to a man wearing a police uniform who claimed he is based at Ranong Police Station in southern Thailand. According to a Bangkok businessman who was cheated out of hundreds of thousands of baht, the “police officer” proved extremely convincing, seated in what looked like a genuine police station, chatting to his colleagues in the background and saying that the police needed his help to catch the money-launderers. The man was assured he was not suspected of any wrongdoing and even shown photos of six men wanted for questioning.
However, since the businessman’s name and personal details had been discovered in a bank account, not his, holding an unexplained sum of more than 13 million baht, he needed to prove his innocence by making a personal visit to the station in Ranong, an extremely
inconvenient journey of several hundreds of kilometres. If he refused, an arrest warrant would be issued.
Alternatively, the businessman was told, he could send the ‘police officer’ access to his bank account so it could be cleared of any money laundering. Having been lulled into a false sense of security by the quietly spoken and clearly educated scammer who added to his credibility by displaying a copy of the man’s ID card, he did as instructed – thus enabling the scam, with all his money being subsequently stolen from his account. How did an otherwise sensible businessman fall for this scam?
“They had a copy of my ID, which is not difficult to obtain as I travel frequently and have to show it to book into a hotel which always photocopies it. “About 20 minutes after speaking to the scammer, I began to have doubts and called my bank who told me all my money had been withdrawn. I then called the real Ranong Police Station – and was told that I had been scammed. They recognized the scam
immediately.” Records of the Line chat were quickly deleted by the scammers. And since either party in the chat can
delete the full contents of the chat history, there was no way of tracing the call.
“I’ve since found out that this kind of scam is a massive problem.” IN PHUKET scammers also targeted a Swiss
national living on the island when they pretended to be police, and ordered him to pay a fine for receiving funds through illegal activities.
During a video conference, the scammers showed the foreigner photos of two real criminals who had been reported in the media. They said one man
transferred 800,000 baht and another 900,000 baht to him. An “officer” said if the man wanted to prove this wasn’t true, he had to open his online accounts and show them his recent transactions.
When questioned about their legitimacy, the fake police became aggressive, saying the Swiss national was guilty and should be jailed. At this point
he transferred 57,000 baht to them so it could be “investigated.” Later, at Phuket Town Police Station, genuine officers said this looked like a very experienced group of international scammers.